Conscience THE BEST FRIEND UPON EARTH OR, The Happy Effects Of Keeping A Good Conscience. Very Useful for this Age.

By HENRY STVBBES, Minister of the Gospel.

Acts 23. 1. I have lived in all Good Conscience before God untill this day.

London, Printed and are to be sold by John Hancock at the Sign of the Three Bibles in Popes Head Alley in Cornhill. 1677.

To the Readers CONSCIENCE.

COnscience; how thou wilt take it I know not: however I have adventured to write a few lines unto thee, because I know thou art well acquainted with my Reader, and canst do much with him if thou wilt; and if thou be a Good Conscience thou wilt. Naturally good I know thou art, I would hope that thou art Spiritually good, purged from dead works by the Bloud of Christ, Heb. 9. 14. and made good by the power of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, 1 Pet. 3. 21. and art able to give a rea­son by thy hope to be saved, 1 Pet. 3. 15, 16. and that thou standest upon thy watch and ward against Sin, Sa­tan, and the World, 1 Tim. 1. 18, 19. However thou art naturally good; [Page] something thou hast retained since the Fall, all is not lost: Reason, Know­ledge, and the power of Reflection thou hast; and to speak according to thy Knowledge, and to tell every one with whom thou hast to do the truth how 'tis with them, is thy essential property. Even those (John 8. 6, 9.) that tempted Christ, that they might have something to accuse him of, were convicted of their Consciences; their Consciences dealt plainly with them, and told them the truth, that they were not without sin.

Conscience, thou art the Candle of the Lord searching the inward parts, the most secret thoughts, desires, and in­tents of the heart, Prov. 20. 27. accord­ing to that of the Apostle, 1 Cor. 2. 11. What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of a man within him? Thou didst tell Pharaoh that he was wicked, Exod. 9. 27. and Josephs Brethren, that they were guilty, Gen. 42. 21. and Judas that he had sinned in betraying innocent bloud, Matth. 27 [Page] 3, 4. I pray thee do as much for my Reader if thou see cause for it. It may be thou art a well read Conscience in the Law of God, enlightned and rightly in­formed: If thou be so, thou knowest my Readers estate Godward, whether good or bad, in the state of Grace or Nature. Thou must needs know, for thou art always at home with him, and there is not a thought in his Heart but thou art privy to it, nor a word in his tongue but thou hearest it, nor a work of his hand but thou seest it. God hath made thee his Spy and Overseer, that so thou mayst be a true Witness for or a­gainst him.

Conscience, thou canst tell whether my Reader be a Child of wrath, as he was born, Eph. 2. 3. or whether he be born again, and so be a Child of God by Faith in Jesus Christ, Gal. 3. 26.

Thou canst tell whether he be as yet to this day in the gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity, as he Acts 8. 23.

[Page] Thou canst tell whether he be in the flesh, and do live after the flesh, or no.

Whether he be the same that ever he was, or whether he be a new creature, the workmanship of God by a second cre­ation, born of God and of the Spirit, sanctified throughout, cleansed from fil­thiness of flesh and spirit.

Whether he worship God in spirit and truth.

Whether he have onely the form of godliness, or the power also.

Whether he be a Christian outward­ly onely, or inwardly also.

Whether a hearer onely, or a doer also.

Whether he have onely a name to live, or be alive indeed.

Whether he be barren and unfruit­ful, or fuitful in every good work.

Whether his Knowledge be effective and operative, and so saving.

Whether his Faith be unfeigned, the Faith of Gods Elect, working, purify­ing, conquering.

[Page] Whether his Repentance be Repent­ance unto life, bearing the fruits of Carefulness, Clearing, Indignation, Fear, Vehement Desire, Zeal, Re­venge, 2 Cor. 7. 11.

Whether his Obedience be universal.

Whether he esteem all Gods pre­cepts concerning all things to be right, and whether he hate every salfe way, Psal. 119. 128.

Conscience, thou canst tell whether my Reader have laid aside all malice and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and evil speakings, as he is required, 1 Pet. 2. 1.

Whether he desires the since [...]e milk of the word, that he may grow there­by, ver. 2.

And whether he do grow or not.

Whether he be contented with what he hath attained, or whether he press forward, after Pauls example, Phil. 3. 13, 14.

Whether he make Religion the great­est business he has to do in the world.

[Page] Whether Gods Word be his Rule in all.

Whether Gods Glory be his end in all.

Whether he seek his own things, or the things of Christ, most.

Whether his Heart be Godward, Christward, Heavenward.

Whether his Conversation be in Heaven, and his Affections upon things above.

Whether he have oyl in his vessel as well as in his lamp.

Whether he can prove his Vnion with Christ.

Whether he has made his Calling and Election sure.

Whether he be yet made meet for the inheritance of the Saints in light.

Whether he love the appearing of Christ.

And Conscience thou canst tell me whether my Reader does live by the Faith of the Son of God, as Paul did, Gal 2. 20.

Whether he shew out of a good con­versation [Page] his works with meekness of wisdom, Janies 3. 13.

What work and labour of love he hath shewed towards the Name of Christ, whether he have ministred to the Saints, and do minister, Heb. 6. 10.

Whether he fulfill all the Wills of God, as David did, Acts 13. 22.

Whether he follow God fully, as Ca­leb did.

Whether he be righteous before God, walking in all the Command­ments and Ordinances of the Lord blameless, as Zechary and Elizabeth, Luke 1. 6.

Whether he be holy in all manner of conversation, as he is required to be, 1 Pet. 1. 15.

Whether his Conversation in this World be in simplicity and godly sin­cerity, 2 Cor. 1. 12.

Whether he be zealous of good works, Tit. 2. 14.

Whether the zeal of Gods House do even eat him up.

[Page] Whether he be contented to be no­thing that God may be all, and to be accounted vile so God may be ho­noured.

Whether he deny himself, and take up his Cross and follow Christ, Matth. 16. 24.

Whether he rejoyce in hope, and be patient in tribulation, and continue instant in prayer, Rom. 12. 12.

Now (Conscience) I have an earnest request to thee; and seeing thou always lodgest in the bosom of my Reader, thou canst not want an opportunity to do what I shall request of thee. My Re­quest is this, That thou wouldest deal honestly with my Reader, and tell him the truth of his estate what it is.

If he be a child of wrath, and in the gall of bitterness and bond of iniqui­ty, tell him so, and say to him as Peter to Simon Magus, Acts 8. 23. I per­ceive thou art in the gall of bitter­ness and bond of iniquity, a child of wrath, and the wrath of God will come [Page] upon thee if thou continue so, Eph. 5. 6.

If my Reader do live after the flesh, (and sure thou canst tell whether he does so or no.) Good Conscience, tell him that he does so, and that if he shall con­tinue so to do, he shall die; and shew him Rom. 8. 13. and bid him read it.

If my Reader do the work of the Lord negligently, deceitfully; if he offer to God a corrupt thing when he has a male to offer, tell him of the curse which hangs over his head, and make him read Jer. 48. 10. Mat. 1. 14.

If he have no prayer in his Family, cause him to read Jer. 10. 25.

If he remember not the Sabbath day to keep it holy, give him no rest, till thou hast gotten him to read and ponder upon what is written Jer. 17. 27.

If he be an idle, slothful, unprofita­ble servant in the Lords work, shew him Matth. 25. 30.

If he be an unfruitful tree in the Lords vineyard, prevail with him (for thou canst do it) to read again and [Page] again the words of Christ Luke 13. 7▪ 8▪ 0. shew him also Matth. 7. 17. and Heb. 6. 7, 8. Say to him, Why dost thou not take the Bible and read it?

Conscience, if my Reader believe not in Jesus Christ, if he do not obediential­ly rest upon him alone for salvation, tell him that if he do not believe the sooner he must be damned, Mark 16. 16.

If he have not repented, if he have not confessed his sin, and mourned for it, and turned from it unto God; tell him he must do it or perish, and shew him Luke 13. 3, 5.

If he be unrighteous, good Conscience tell him, that if he continue such, he shall never inherit the Kingdom of God. Compell him to read 1 Cor. 6. 9, 10.

If he be unholy, tell him, that he shall never see the Lord; and let him not be quiet till he has taken the Bible and read it in Heb. 12. 14.

If he be unregenerate, tell him, he cannot, (if he continue so) see the Kingdom [Page] of God. Put the Bible into his hand, and bid him read John 3. 3 [...]5.

Conscience, if my Reader be a neg­lecter of that great Salvation profer­ed in the Gospel, and continue so, tell him that he cannot escape damnation, and shew him Heb. 2. 3.

If he turn away from him that speaketh from Heaven to him, tell him that he cannot escape the wrath of God; and shew him Heb. 12. 25. and Acts 3. 23. and ask him whether he be not afraid of destruction?

And if he shall still refuse to hear­ken, and still pull away the shoulder, and stop his ears, and make his Heart like an Adamant stone, tell him that great wrath will come upon him, Zech. 7. 11, 12.

Conscience, if my Reader be one of that black catalogue 1 Cor. 6. 9, 10. or a doer of the works of the flesh, Gal. 5. 19, 20, 21. tell him, that he shall not inherit the Kingdom of God. And if he ask thee what warrant thou [Page] hast to say so, refer him to the forecited Scriptures.

Conscience, if my Reader should be fearful, unbelieving, abominable; if he should be a Murderer, a Whoremon­ger, a Sorcerer, an Idolater, a Liar; tell him that if he continue such, he must have his part in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone: and make him read Rev. 21. 8.

Conscience, if my Reader be a proud person, tell him from God, that God is able to abase him, Dan. 4. 37. and will be above him, Exod. 18. 11. and bring him down, Psal. 18. 27. and low, Prov. 29. 23. even to destruction, Prov. 16. 18. and 15. 25. Get him also to read Isa. 2. 11. to 18. and Isa. 3. 16. to the end.

If my Reader be a covetous person, good Conscience, let him know from the Word of God,

1. That he is a troubler of his own house, Prov. 15. 27.

2. That he is in Gods account an [Page] Idolater, Col. 3. 5. Eph. 5. 5.

3. That he is hated and abhorred of God, Psal. 10. 3.

4. That he is sorely threatned Isa. 5. 8. Isa. 10. 1, 2. Job 20. 15, 19, 20. and 27. 16, 17, 18. 1 Cor. 6. 10. And get him to read 1 Tim. 6. 9, 10.

And (Conscience) if my Reader be a voluptuous person, an adulterous un­clean person, I must intreat thee to send him to the Bible, and to see that he read and consider these following Scrip­tures of the Old and New Testament; Prov. 2. 18, 19. Prov. 5. 3, 4, 5, 6, to 14. Prov. 6. 26, 32, [...]3. Prov. 7. 21. to the end of the chap. Prov. 22. 14. Prov. 23. 27. Prov. 29. 3. Eccles. 7. 26. 1 Cor. 5. 9. 1 Cor. 6. 9, 10. Eph. 5. 5, 6. Heb. 13. 4. Rev. 21. 8. and 22. 15.

Good Conscience, be at him again and again, and never leave him till thou hast gotten him to go into his Clo­set, and there to spend one quarter or half an hour in pondering on these Scri­ [...].

[Page] Conscience, do thy office; thou art Gods Deputy, fail not to be faithful.

Possibly thou mayest say, That thou hast done it again and again, but they will not hear, they are deaf to me as well as to you. But Conscience, if thou be a good Conscience, speak louder, speak not with so low a voice, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, for thou art ordained a Preacher to shew my Readers their transgressions and sins.

Be not silent whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, yet speak unto them. I know my Readers, many of them, will endeavour to silence and stop thy mouth; they do not love to be told of their faults, or what their estate is: but Conscience be not thou rebellious, but do that which is thine Office to do. I know thou hast much to charge my Readers with.

Some of them (thou knowest) do nei­ther read the S [...]riptures, nor pray in their Families, nor Cathechize them that are committed to their charge.

[Page] Others pray not in their Closets, nor do they commune with their own hearts about their spiritual estates; they exa­mine not themselves, whether they be in the Faith, or whether Christ be in them; they compare not themselves with the Word of God, to know how it is with them.

Some spend their time and strength, and Estates in Rioting and Drunken­ness, in Chambering and Wantonness, in Strife and Envying

Some trifle away their precious time in Taverns, Ale-houses, Play-houses Coffee-houses.

Some embrace this present World with Demas.

Some are lovers of Pleasures more then lovers of God.

Some acknowledge God in their words, and in their works deny him.

Some have left their first love.

Some are lukewarm, neither hot nor [...]ld.

Some say, Lord, Lord, but will not do [Page] the things that he says unto them.

Some believe not with their Hearts what with their Mouth they say they do believe.

Some confess sin with their lips, but do neither mourn for it, nor hate it, nor turn from it with their Hearts.

Some pray for that they would not have.

Some hear the Word, but will not do it.

Some love in word and tongue, but not in deed and in truth.

Some fashion themselves according to this world, yet would not be thought to be of the world.

Some Dedicate and Devote their Children to God, to the service of that one God who is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and when they have so done, they alienate them from his service to the service of the World, Flesh, and Devil, breeding them np in Idleness, Pride, and Wantonness. Never, or never to any purpose minding them of their Baptis­ [...]al [Page] Covenant and Engagements, to be [...]holy and only the Lords.

Some neglect relative Duty, (as thou Conscience knowest very well.)

Are not some Husbands bitter to [...]heir Wives, and some Wives disobe­dient to their Husbands?

Do not some Parents provoke their Children to wrath? and do not some Children dishonour their Parents?

Do not some Masters deny that which is just and equal to their Servants? and are not some Servants unfaithful to their Masters? Dost thou not know all this to be true, Conscience? Doubtless thou doest, and doubtless thou doest of­ten nip and twinge them for it. But good Conscience make them feel, make them smart, let them not go on in peace, disturb them, hannt them continually, tell them their own, and take a fit time and season for it.

My Reader does frequently, or some­ [...]imes at least, hear Sermons. Sermons of the necessity of the New-birth, Faith, [Page] Repentance, Holiness. Take this op­portunity, Conscience, of telling him the truth. Say to him, Hearest thou what the Preacher sayes? hath he not clearly proved the necessity of New birth, Faith, Repentance, Holiness, unto Life Eter­nal. What wilt thou do, Man, Wo­man? Thou art not New-born, thou hast not believed nor repented, thou art not Holy. Sure thou canst not enter in­to the Kingdom of Heaven, Joh. 3. 3. Sure thou must be Damned, Mat. 16. 16. Sure thou must perish, Luke. 13. 3. Thou canst not see the Lord to thy comfort in that unholy Estate thou art now in Heb. 12. 14.

My Reader prayes constantly, or some­times at least, and sayes, Lord give me a better Heart, a new Heart, a clean Heart, a soft Heart, a single Heart. Lord, write thy Law in my Heart, plant thy Fear in my Heart, put thy Spirit into me, cause me to walk in thy Statutes. Now, Conscience, tell h [...] the truth; say to him, Thou drawest [Page] [...]igh to God with thy lips, but thy Heart is far from him. Thy Lip doth ask these things of God, but thy Heart does not desire them; thou art well enough sa­tisfied and contented, though thou be denied.

My Reader is sometimes busy in his Calling: Conscience, go to him and say, O how busy thou art for back and belly! what provision makest thou for thy soul?

My Reader is sometimes at a Feast, or at his own Table: go to him, Consci­ence, and say, O how sweet this meat is to thy taste! when shall the Word of God, and the meat indeed, and the drink indeed, be as sweet?

My Reader is sometimes in a Tavern, Ale-house, or Coffee-house. Conscience, when he has done his necessary business there, go to him and say, Is not thy Fa­mily, or Closet, a fitter [...]place for thee to be in?

Sometimes he is walking in the fields: Conscience, go to him and ask him what [...]e is meditating on, and put him in [Page] mind of Isaac's practice, Gen. 24. 6.

My Reader is sometimes sick: go [...]t him, Conscience, and say, This is th [...] just hand of God upon thee: and bi [...] him take his Bible and read Jer. 4. 18▪

Sometimes my Reader takes Physick▪ go to him, Conscience, and say to him▪ When wilt thou be at so much cost for thy soul? when wilt thou spare so much time from thy business for thy soul? when wilt thou keep thy Chamber a day or two for thy souls health?

Possibly my Reader has lately been recovered out of a dangerous fit of sick­ness: go to him, Conscience, and put him in mind of [...]is sick [...]bed prayers and pur­poses, and say to him, Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.

Conscience, have but a very little pa­tience more, and I have done. Some of my Readers, thou knowest, have lain under the meanes of Grace a long time Vncon­verted; would I could perswade thee [...] force them to read Heb. 6. 7, 8. Jer. [...] 29. Ezek. 24. 13, 14. Mat. 23. 37, 38. [Page] Luke 19. 41, 42. 2 Cor. 13. 5. and not let them be quiet until they have mused a while on each. Conscience, I am in care and fear about my Readers, lest that dreadful Message be sent to them, that once was sent to Israel of old, Isa. 6. 9, 10. with Rom. 11. 18. I beseech thee, Conscience, suffer them not to eat, drink, or sleep in quiet, until they have fixed their thoughts a while on this Message after the reading of it. Con­science, I am out of hopes of my Readers welfare, unless thou be the more vigi­lant, a [...]gent, and faithful in doing thy office. Wherefore I beseech you, nay I charge you, as once Paul charged Timo­thy, 2 Tim. 4. 1. before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick, and the dead at his appearing and his Kingdom; preach the Word to my Reader, be instant in season, out of season; Reprove, Rebuke, Exhort him, and continue thy speech to him (as once Paul did to his Hearers Acts 20. 7.) until midnight, rather then fail of [Page] prevailing with him. There are a few other Scriptures, which I desire my Rea­der might peruse, viz. 1 Sam. 2. 25. 2 Chro. 25. 16. Pro. 29. 1. But, Con­science, if thou wilt not by earnest and continual urging compel him, he will not bestow the time, nor take the paines to do it. In hope thou wilt be faithful to my Reader, I shall add no more save only the promise of my prayers that thou mayst be so.


JOB 26. 7.‘My Righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my Heart shall not re­proach me so long as I live.’

MY Righteousness I hold fast. His Friends would have robb'd him of it, would have persuaded him out of it, would have argued and disputed him out of it, but you shall not do it saith Job; I stand up in the defence of it, I hold it fast, I will not let it go [...] Say what you will, do what you can, I will maintain my Integrity, I am not an Hypocrite as you would have me think I am; I am not an unrighteous man as you would speak me to be, and as you would have me take my self to be; no, my Righteousness I will hold fast, I will [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page 1] [...] [Page 2] not let it go; pull while you will, I will hold it fast. Take we up the like Resolution: there are some that pretend to be friends, pretend friend­ship and kindness, but act the part of Job's friends here. Oh how many are there that would spoil us of our Righteousness! The World, the Flesh, and the Devil, pull to take it away; Hold we our Resolution not to let it go. Should I let it go, (saith Job) my Heart would reproach me, would upbraid me; my Conscien [...]e would accuse me of wrong done to my self, which is worse then doing wrong to others. It is bad to wrong others much worse to wrong our selves: therefore he is resolved, My Heart shall not reproach me, no not so long as I live. In which words you have Job's Holy resolution, My Heart shall not reproach me. My Heart, that is, my Conscience, for so Heart is to be understood; If ou heart condemn us, [...] John 3. 20, 21. Go [Page 3] is greater then our heart: And if our heart condemn us not, &c. that is, our Conscience. So that by Heart you must here understand Conscience. Conscience! Is there any such thing in the World? Sure one would think that Conscience had been dead long ago, and that there was no Consci­ence now alive in the World. But (Sirs) it will have a Resurrection as­sure your selves, for it is of an Im­mortal Nature; and though it may seem [...] die, it will have a real Re­surrection. Sleep is the image of Death, and Conscience may for a­while be asleep, but as sure as ever thou didst awake when thou wast asleep, Conscience will awake ere long; and when it shall awake it will make you look about. My Conscience shall not reproach me, shall not upbraid, shall not accuse me of any wrong done to mysel [...], nor of any omission of what is my Duty, nor of any commission of what is. [Page 4] Transgression, it shall not accuse me, either for omitting what God hath commanded, (and God hath com­manded me to preserve my own In­tegrity, and to seek my own peace and quiet;) or accuse me for com­mitting what God hath forbidden. God hath forbidden me the wrong­ing of my self, and Conscience shall not accuse me for doing what God hath forbidden, so long as I live. Hi­therto his Conscience accused him not. O Excellent Job! A man more righteous then his Neighbour. In­deed he was one that had the Com­mendation of God himself; no won­der he doth stand up in his own justi­fication, being a person that had Gods so great commendation: Job 1. 1. There was a man in the land of Vz, whose name was Job, and that man was perfect and upright, one that feared God and eschewed evil. And a further Com­mendation the Lord gave him ver. 8 Hast thou not considered my serva [Page 5] Job, that there is none like him in the earth? &c. No wonder that he stands upon his own justification. Hither to I have so lived that my Conscience cannot accuse me, and he was resol­ved so to live. I will have a care (whatever I suffer) to have Consci­ence on my side; I will have Consci­ence to be my Friend; I will not do any thing that shall occasion Consci­ence to be my Foe; for I were bet­ter to have all the World, yea if there were ten thousand Worlds, it were better for me to have them all to be my mortal enemies, than to have Conscience to be mine enemy.

Now it will be needful to consider what Conscience is that is so great a Friend or Foe: it will be the best Friend, or the worst Enemy, accord­ing as your carriage towards God and Man shall be. I shall shew,

  • 1. What Conscience is.
  • 2. About what it is imployed.
  • [...] is implo▪

[Page 6] And then when I have so done, I shall tell you and prove it, that it should be your greatest care so to live, that Conscience may not reproach you whilest you live; and then give you reasons of it, and then Ap­ply it.

1. General. What Conscience is.

Briefly, Conscience is a mans Judgment of himself: i.e. Of his E­state and Actions; this is Consci­ence. Or thus, if you will; Consci­ence is a Power of the Soul; for the Soul is endowed with Noble Powers and Faculties, Vnderstanding, Consci­ence, Memory, Will, and Affections: and Conscience is not the least of them. I say, Conscience is a Power of the Soul taking notice and bearing witness of all a mans Thoughts, Words, and Acti­ons; and as it finds them, either to agree or not agree with the Rule, it ac­cuses or excuses, absolves or condemns comforts or torments. This is Consci­ence. Do you think there is any such [Page 7] Inhabitant in you? It may be some have taken no notice of any such Inha­bitant in the House of their Soul, whether there be any such Power of the Soul, or no. I say it again, Con­science is a Power of the Soul, taking notice, and bearing witness, (it takes notice that it may bear witness) of all a mans Thoughts, Words, and A­ctions; and as it finds his Thoughts, Words, or Actions, to be either a­greeing or not agreeing with the Rule, so it doth excuse or accuse, ab­solve or condemn, comfort or tor­ment. This is Conscience.

1. It is a Power of the Soul; it is called Heart 1 John 3. 20. For if our heart coudemn us, &c. and Eccles. 7. 22. For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth, &c. It is called likewise the Spirit of a man, Prov. 18. 14. The Spirit of a man will sustain his infirmi­ties, but a wounded Spirit who can bear?

[Page 8] 2. Conscience is a Power of the Soul taking notice; it is a most Curi­ous Observer. Conscience is very quick sighted. It is continually pry­ing, though we do not observe and take notice of it; yet so it is. What is said of God Psalm 139. 3, 4. is true of his Deputy: Who is that? It is Conscience. Conscience is no mean thing, it is Gods Deputy, and what is said of God in that place is true of Conscience: Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and thou art ac­quainted with all my ways, for there is not a word in my mouth, but lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether: Thou hast beset me behind and before. So that a man cannot stir but God seeth and Conscience seeth, and knoweth and taketh notice of it; and one would wonder how Conscience will revive what was done seven years, and three times seven years, ago. Conscienc [...] will whisper in your ear, this was your heart, and this was in your [Page 9] tongue, and this was in your hands, this was thought by you, that was spoken by you, and that was done by you; that which we had utterly for­gotten. How fresh many years after doth Conscience bring it to mind? Conscience took notice of it, and did well observe it. Thus Coscience is a Power of the Soul taking no­tice.

3. And bearing witness, it taketh notice that it may bear witness, if it should not take notice it could not bear witness. Can a man bear wit­ness that which he never knew, which he never saw, nor heard? Rom. 2. 14. The Apostle speaking of the Gentiles saith, Having not the Law, they do by nature the things con­tained in the Law: these having not the Law, are a Law unto themselves, which shew the work of the Law written in their hearts, their Conscience also [...]eiring witness. It is an old Prover­ [...]ial speech, Conscience is a thousand [Page 10] Witnesses; nay it's more then a thou­sand or ten thousand Witnesses; that one Witness is enough to cast us. If Conscience be a Witness, there is no need of any further Witness. As they said of Christ, What need we any further witness, we have it from his own mouth? So will the Lord say to the Sinner, What need any further Witness, his own Conscience is Wit­ness? You read of the Testimony of Conscience, sometimes it is for, and sometimes against.

1. It is sometimes for us, as 2 Cor. 1. 12. This is our rejoycing (saith the Apostle) the testimony of our Consci­ence, that in all simplicity and godly sin­cerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our con­versation in the world.

2. And sometimes against us, and then 'tis a Hell above ground, a Hell on this side Hell.

3. It further follows, that Consc [...] ­ence is a Power of the Soul takin [...] [Page 11] notice of, and bearing witness of a mans Thoughts, Words, and Acti­ons, so that the Thoughts shall not escape Consciences observation, nor shall a Word escape Consciences hearing, nor a Work Consciences recording. And as Conscience finds the Thoughts, Words, or Actions, ei­ther agreeing or not agreeing with the Rule, it will excuse or accuse. Conscience cannot be a Witness of our Thoughts, Words, and Actions, whether they be according to the Rule, or contrary to it, whether they agree with the Rule, or warp from it, unless it be a strict Observer. And if it find our Thoughts, Words, and Actions to agree with the Rule, it excuseth; if not to agree with the Rule, it accuseth: Rom. 2. 15. Their thoughts in the mean while accusing or excusing one another.

4. And then it follows, absolving or condemning. For the truth is, Con­science is a Judge, a Deputy Judge, [Page 12] which God hath set up and given Power to, that according as it finds Thoughts, Words, and Actions, to be according to Rule, or not accord­ing to Rule, it may either acquit or condemn.

5. And then, it comforteth or tor­menteth also, as it findeth thoughts, words, and actions, either to agree or not to agree with the Rule. 2 Cor. 1. 12. This is our rejoycing the Testi­mony of our Conscience; there is the comfort of Conscience. And Mark 9. 44. It is a Worm that never dieth; there is the torment of it. Thus you see Conscience is a Power of the Soul, taking notice and bearing Witness, of all a mans thoughts words and acti­ons; and as it finds them either agree­ing or not agreeing with the Rule, it excuseth, or accuseth, absolveth or condemneth, comforteth or tor­menteth. This is called Conscience [...] It is called Conscience some think [...]cause it is a Knowledge with oth [...] [Page 13] Pray observe God knows, Angels know, Devils know, Men know, and all these witness, and Conscience knows and witnesseth with them. 1. God knows if you read Job 16. 19. My witness is in Heaven, my record is on high. There is one in Heaven that knows, and one in Heaven that can witness; though the husband doth not know, though the wife doth not know, and father and friend doth not know, yet God knows, and there is one on earth knows, and that is Conscience. God is my witness, saith Paul, Rom. 1. 9. God doth know it, and can wit­ness it. All things are naked and open to him with whom we have to do, Heb. 4. 13. It is a notable Scripture, Hos. 7. 2. And they consider not in their hearts, that I remember all their wic­kedness. Whoever forgets it, and though they themselves forget it, yet I remember it well enough. They do not consider that I remember all their wickedness, their own doings [Page 14] have beset them about, they are all before my face, even what is not be fore the Husbands face and the Wifes face. God knows what things are acted behind one anothers backs; all is before Gods Face, he knows it,Psal. 139. begin. and takes notice of it. 2. Angels know it too; the Angels are Mini­string Spirits about some; they are imployed here on Earth, though we take no notice of it. They are in our Congregations and Meetings, and they observe how we carry our selves there. For this cause ought the Wo­man to have power on her head, because of the Angels, saith the Apostle, 1 Cor. 11. 10. i.e. The Woman is to be mo­dest in the Congregation because of the Angels. The Lord return Mo­desty home again, for Modesty seems to be banished from among us. But do Angels know? do the good An­gels know? Yes, when we do well the good Angels rejoyce: if a Sinne [...] [Page 15] be converted, if the lost Sheep be found,Luke 15. 7, 10. there is joy among the Angels; therefore they know it. 3. The bad An­gels know too, they go about as Ob­servers. You cannot go to the Con­gregation, but the Devil makes one there. The Sower goes out to sow the good Seed, then comes the Ene­my, the Devil, and steals it away, Matth. 13. 19. He also goes about as a roaring Lion every where, 1 Pet. 5. 8. He goes to and fro in the earth, and walks up and down in it, Job. 1. 7. observing what People do; for he is the Accuser of the Breth­ren, and he will when time serves re­member people of what they have done, though done by his instigation and temptation: see Zech. 3. 1. Poor Creatures are tempted to destroy [...]hemselves; well, God delivers them, [...]nd now they are ashamed. O what [...] shame is this (saith the Devil) that thou hast attempted to destroy thy [Page 16] self? how canst thou look any body in the face without shame? go and destroy thy self. This was the case of a poor Creature that I have twice spo­ken with: once she attempted to drown her self; I spake with her, and gave her the best counsell could: she answered me, I am ashamed, I am a­shamed, I cannot go about any thing. Not many days after she went into a Wood to cut her own Throat, but God delivered her: but this poor Creature is still under discontent, the Devil doth remember her. I beseech you consider how many Witnesses there are of all that you do; you think to sin in the dark, and to do it so that no Eye shall see you, you think to draw the Curtains, and then none can see you; but you deceive your selves, it is Noon Day with God still, and so it is with Angels, and with the Devil too; there is nothing hid fra [...] them. 4. Men know, they are [...] Observers. Some have their ey [...] [...] [Page 17] their heads, and see that which should make their eyes weep and trickle down with tears, and if they have any Zeal for God, the sight of their Eyes will affect their Hearts. And besides this Conscience also knows, and therefore called Conscience (as some think) because it knows with others. It knoweth with God, with Angels, with Devils, and knows it to be all true which God lays to our charge, and what the Devil lays to our charge; so that Conscience is a Knowledge together with others. Rom. 9. 1. My Conscience bearing me witness. My Conscience co-witnes­sing, my Conscience witnessing toge­ther with God; God knows it, and doth witness it; and my Conscience knows it, and doth witness it; and my Conscience together with me knows it.

There is a double Act of the Un­derstanding; there is a Direct Act whereby we know a thing, and there [Page 18] is a Reflect Act whereby we know that we know it. And this is the Action of Conscience. Isa. 59. 12. For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins they testifie against us; for our transgressions are with us, and as for our iniquities we know them, we know that we have sin­ned. So that Conscience is a recoiling or a reflexion of the Soul upon it self; according to that of Paul, 1 Cor. 4. 4.

II. General. I come in the next place to shew about what Conscience is im­ploy'd▪ it is imploy'd about the whole man and all his actions. It hath a Commission thus to employ it self a­bout the understanding, how that doth act, about the memory to observe how that doth act, about the will how that doth act, and the Affections how they do act, it is imployed to observe whe­ther the man be sanctified or not, and it is imployed about his Actions whe­ther they be good or bad, about our actions towards God or Man, to­wards [Page 19] our selves or others. And it is imployed about every thing that is either a Sin or a Duty. Conscience is imployed to observe how you eat and drink, it is imployed to observe how you dress and habit your selves, how you buy and sell, and deal and trade in the World, it is imployed to observe how you read the Scripture, pray in your Family, in your Clozet, and in the Congregation, how you sanctifie the Sabbath, receive Sacra­ments, how you spend your time, how long you lye a Bed in a morning, how late you set up at night, and a­bout what; to observe how you car­ry your selves alone, and how you carry your selves in Comyany, to ob­serve what you do in the Streets, or in the Field, in this place or in the o­ther place, in this Company or in the other Company; it goeth along with you, and it will never leave you. God help me to mind this. I hope you will make the same prayer for your selves, that I make for my self.

[Page 20] III. General. How Conscience is imployed. From the Description of Conscience which I have given you, you may understand that Conscience hath several Offices, the Office of a Notary or Register, the Office of a Witness or Accuser, the Office of a Judge or a Condemner, the Office of a Comforter or a Tormenter; Con­science is imployed in such Offices as these are, and Conscience will first or last be faithful in the execution of them, and it will do it's Office to purpose

1. It is imployed as a Notary or Register to write down all we do; to write it down as with the Point of a Diamond, to Book it down, and Seal it up, that it may come to Light a­gain.

2. It is imployed as an Accuser when we do amiss, when we warp from the Rule.

3. It is imployed as a Judge, to pass sentence of life or death. Oh, [Page 21] Sirs, how many poor souls are con­demned by their own hearts? Their own Consciences tell them, thou art a Damned Creature, thou art an un­done soul; it may be Conscience as yet doth not set in Judgment, it is not Sessions or Assizes time with you, it may be it is adjourned and put of to a longer time. But assure your selves the time will come, the time is at hand.

4. Conscience is also imployed as a Comforter, as an Acquitter and Ab­solver if we do well. 2 Cor. 1. 12. This is our rejoycing, the testimony of our Con­science, that in simplicity and godly sin­cerity, &c. we have had our conversation in the world. What greater rejoy­cing then this? When Conscience shall acquit me in the prescence of God, when Conscience shall be able to say as Hezekiah, Remember, O Lord, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. Oh [Page 22] what a comfort will it be when Con­science shall reflect upon it's believ­ing in Christ, upon it's confession of sin, repentance and tears, sighs and groans for sin. This is my rejoycing, the testimony of my Conscience; that I have been alone in a corner in my Clozet, with tears in mine eyes and sorrow in my heart, that I have rolled my self on Christ, and cast all my ca [...]e upon him.

5. Then as a Tormenter Conscience is imployed. When Conscience shall recoil and thus reflect upon a man. When thou shoulds [...] have been in thy Clozet thou wast here or there in the Street or in the Field, in the Coffee House or Taverns; when thou shouldst have been with God alone, thou hast been elswhere. Thou couldst lye down and rise up without having God be [...]fore thine Eyes; thou couldst eat and drink without fear and without rule, and buy and sell, and habi [...] thy self without fear. There is a [...] [Page 23] much danger in habiting and dressing our selves as in eating and drinking; O what if this dress should be a snare, what if this should occasion the com­mitting of Adultery, He that looks upon a Woman to lust after her, (saith Christ) hath committed Adul­tery with her already in his heart. Saith one, There is a fine clear skin, and so saith a second, and a third; but do you know what temptation may lye in a naked skin: the Lord help us to take heed of it. I would commend you a little Book, it is but 3 pence price, it is called The Hairy Comet, very fit for an Hairy Age. This is indeed an Hairy Age; God deliver us from False Hearts, for we can see almost nothing but False Heads every where. Assure your selves, Consci­ence will have a bout with men for this another day.

Conscience will not let this go unobserved; Conscience doth write down this, and will hereafter find a [Page 24] time to read it to you, It may be the Wife will say I must please my Husband, and the Husband will say I must please my Wise. But have a care I beseech you to please Conscience, that it may not be against you ano­ther day. See that Conscience be for you, and that Conscience may have no cause to upbraid you, and torment you another day. Let Jobs care be your care; let not Consci­ence reproach you so long as you live. I beseech you earnestly, let it be your great care to have A Consci­ence void of offence towards God and towards Man; towards your selves and others. And if you so do, you will have no cause to repent your being here to hear this Lesson.


JOB 27. 6.‘My Righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my Heart shall not re­proaoh me so long as I live.’

THis was Jobs Resolution, why should it not be ours? Those that have felt the Reproaches of Conscience once, would be loth to feel them a second time. The very bruit Beasts; when once they have been either in the mire, or in the fire, will take heed how they come there again. You can hardly force them into a Bog wherein they have been mired, they will turn this way, and that way, and run back again upon you, rather then run into the mire wherein they have been already. A wounded Conscience [Page 26] who can bear? They that have felt that wound, and have gotten it heal'd, will take heed how they make ano­ther.

The Proposition I gave you was this; It should be our greatest care so to live, that our Consciences may have no occasion to accuse or reproach us while we live. Some do so live that their neighbours can have no occasion to reproach them; some there are that so live, that the very worst have a good word for them, I have known some that have been so unblamable, of such a sweet disposition, so kind and courte­ous to all, and have lived so inoffen­sively, that the worst have had a good word for them. But where are they that have or do carry themselves so, that their Consciences have no occasi­sion to accuse them, or to reproach them? Commend me to that person if you can. I have already shewed you what Conscience is, and about what it is imployed, and how it is imployed.

[Page 27] I come now to the Proof of the Do­ctrine. This was Jobs care you see; he was resolved upon it, that he would so walk and so watch that Conscience might have no occasion to reproach him. And hath Job no Fellows? yes many; the Scripture speaketh of such as have made it their care so to walk, that Conscience might have no just occasion to reproach them. David was one of them, as appears by what he saith Ps. 16. 8. Ps. 119. 3, 112, 113. although there was a time when he gave Conscience too great occasion to reproach him, and his Conscience did reproach him to purpose at last. Ah poor David! what broken bones had he? This was Heze­kiah's care, else he could not have had the testimony of his Conscience for him as he had. Remember (saith he, Isa. 38. 3.) O Lord, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. Perfect heart, that is, an upright [Page 28] heart; perfection, not of degrees, but of parts, is there to be understood. There are many such other places in Scrip­ture, as in the Book of Psalms, Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; where you find one word to explaine the other. This also was Pauls care, else could not he have had the testi­mony of his Conscience as he had. This is our rejoycing, (saith he) the te­stimony of our Conscience, &c. 2 Cor. 1. 12. it was Pauls exercise, Acts 24. 16. And herein do I exercise my self, to have always a Conscience, void of offence, to­ward God and toward Man.

Reason I.

The grounds and Reasons of it follow. One reason why we should take all possible care that Conscience may have no occasion to reproach us is, because if occasion be given; these reproaches are unavoidable; I say, these Reproaches, Vexations, and Accusati­ons of Conscience wil be unavoidable there is no escaping from them: we [Page 29] may give occasion to others, and pos­sibly there may be some avoiding that which we give occasion of; but here is no avoiding or escaping in this case. Conscience may be asleep, and Con­science may say nothing a great while, but at last it will awake and do it's office, in accusing and in judging, con­demning and tormenting. David's Conscience was asleep for a great while, but afterwards Nathan com­eth to him from the Lord, and rouzeth Conscience, and then Conscience set most violently upon him; as appears by the Ps. 51. where he complaineth of broken bones, and prayeth that the bones which were broken might re­joyce. So Joseph's Brethren, they heard nothing of Conscience a great while, but at last Conscience twinges them, at last Conscience put out his envenomed sting; (no such sting as the sting of Conscience) at last Con­science taketh them by the throat, Gen. 42. 21. And they said one to ano­ther, [Page 30] we are verily guilty concerning [the Blood of] our Brother, &c. though men do with the Harlot for a great while wipe their mouths, and say, What evil have we done? As Joseph's Brethren, they sold their Brother Joseph; Conscience said never a word to them, let them alone a great while: they came and told their Father a lie, and Conscience said never a word to them, when they told their Father that Joseph was slain; they saw their Father Mourning as if he were going down into the Grave, Conscience saith nothing all the while: a Famine com­eth upon the Land, Conscience yet saith nothing to them: at last they come down into Egypt, there they meet with hard usage, and are in dan­ger of imprisonment. Now Consci­ence beginneth to rouze up itself like a Lyon, to tear and devour; then they cry out, Verily we are guilty con­cerning the blood of our Brother. You see Conscience had an awakening [Page 31] time, though it had been asleep; the Morning came for its awakening. So Judas his Conscience was asleep for a great while; and one would wonder that it should ever be so fast asleep as was. Mat. 26. 15. you may read there some passages of it. He goeth to the Chief Priests and maketh a Bargain; What will you give me, and I will deli­ver Jesus to you? and they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of Silver: there he maketh a bargain for a little Silver to sell his Lord and Master, and to betray the innocent blood: Conscience saith never a word to him. Further, he sought for opportunity to betray Christ, yet Conscience saith nothing to him, v. 21. when he was come into the presence of his Master, he came with the Disciples to the Passover, yet Conscience saith no­thing to him all the while: when he was at the Passover and eating, Christ telleth his Disciples that one of them should betray him, yet Judas's [Page 32] Conscience saith never a word to him, but letteth him alone all this while. Nay further, when the Disciples at these words were exceeding sorrow­ful, and began to say every one of them, Lord, is it I? yet Judas's Con­science saith nothing to him. And Christ said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me: yet his Conscience was asleep all this while. Further, ver. 24. Christ pronounceth a Wo to that man by whom he should be betrayed; yet the denunciation of that Wo did not awa­ken Judas's Conscience; Wo to him; it had been good for that man he had never been born. It is matter of ad­miration and amazement, that his Conscience should be so fast asleep; the Devil entred into him, and rock­ed Conscience asleep, till he might be sure to do him mischeif enough; ver. 25. Then Judas, which betray­ed him, put the question and said, Master, is it I? Methinks his Consci­ence [Page 33] should have flown in his face like a Mastiff. Nay further, saith Christ, Thou hast said; thou art the man: and yet for all this Judas's Conscience was not awake. This is indeed mat­ter of admiration, that a mans Con­science should be so fast asleep. But how many Instances of such sleepy Consciences doth this very age afford? But doth Judas's Conscience sleep al­ways? No. Then Judas, which betray­ed him, when he saw that Jesus was con­demned, he brought again the 30 pieces of Silver to the Chief Priests and said, I have sinned, in that I have betrayed In­nocent blood. But miserable comfor­ters were those Christ-Buyers, they bought him to be crucified; they did reply to him when he said, I have sin­ned; What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the thirty pieces of Silver in the Temple, and went and hanged himself. And now his Con­science was so awake that it would not suffer him to live. I assure you [Page 34] howsoever Conscience may be asleep for a great while, yet the time will come that Conscience will do it's of­fice; and therefore it doth greatly con­cern us to take great care that Con­science may have no occasion to re­proach us. O happy Judas if thou hadst never made a bargain to sell thy Master, and hadst never sought op­portunity to betray him! O happy, if thou hadst never accompanyed the Band of Souldiers, that came to appre­hend him! But he came along with the Band of Souldiers, and gave them the Sign, The Man whom I shall kiss is the Man, hold him fast: yet Con­science did not reproach him. But let Men do what they can to stop the mouth of Conscience, it will speak at last and they will be biting words. Carnal Reasonings cannot stop it, Carnal Pleasures cannot bribe it, nor any variety of diversions silence it. Cain, you know, he was quiet awhile, Gen▪ 4. 13. But after a while Cain's [Page 35] Conscience did reproach him, would not let him alone. Belshazzar, he is merry a while with his Courtiers and Companions in drinking Wine in Bowls, but after he falls a trembling, and his knees smote one against the o­ther, and he grew pale when he saw the hand writing on the wall. Consci­ence will fee an hand writing not on the wall, but in this book. I have spo­ken with some poor Souls, that could say, This word is against me, and that word is against me; there are words enough in this Book against you. Con­science will one day awake and re­proach, and will not be bribed, will not have its mouth stopt. This is one great reason why we should be careful so to live, that Conscience may not reproach us while we live, for the reproches of Conscience are unavoid­able.

Reason II.

Another reason why we should take all possible care that▪ Conscience [Page 36] may have no occasion to reproach us, is because the reproaches of Consci­ence are Intolerable, there will be no bearing of them. A wounded Spi­rit who can bear? None are able to bear it. Many instances might be gi­ven; you may read Job 7. 13, 14, 15. When I say, my bed shall comfort me, my couch shall ease my complaint; then thou scarest me with dreams, and terri [...]iest me with visions, so that my soul chuseth strangling, and death rather then life. Oh Sirs, what a case will the terrours and accusations of Con­science bring the poor creature in­to? Job 10. 1. My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon my self, &c. Psalm 32. 3, 4. When I kept silence my bones-waxed old through my roaring all the day, &c. All this was occasioned through the re­proaches of Conscience. I might add, Prov. 12. 25. Heaviness in the heart of a man maketh a man to stoop. I have known those that have been bowed [Page 37] together by reason of the agonies of Conscience. I knew one, at whose Eyes and Ears Bloud hath gushed forth by reason of the Agonies of Conscience. Prov. 17. 22. A merry heart doth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones. You know Judas did chuse rather to die than endure it. Bilney and Baynham (after they had abjured) felt such pangs, such a Hell in their Conscien­ces, till they had openly professed their sorrow for it, as they would not have felt again for all the World. Daniel chose rather to be cast into the Lions Den, then to carry a Lion in his bosom, viz. an enraged Consci­ence. Richard the Third was a ter­ror to himself after he had murdered his two innocent Nephews. Charles the Ninth of Fran [...]e, after that blou­dy Massacre by which his Consci­enc was enraged, could not endure to be awakened in the night, without Musick or some other diversion. Thus [Page 38] much for the Reasons of the Point: I proceed to the


Vse 1. Of Reproof. The first Use shall be for Reproof of those that take no such care to avoid the Re­proaches of Conscience, but do that which will be cast by Conscience as a Reproach upon them another day. How do some for many years toge­ther heap up Fuel to keep a Fire burning within them? No sooner is some Fuel spent, but there is more Fuel heapt on again; fresh sins are committed, and after a while these sins come to remembrance, and set the Fire a burning. It may be a man may weather it out a little, but then more sins come to light, and that sets the Fire a burning again, and so there is no end. Conscience hath not for­gotten any thing done many years ago, but remembers it as if it had been done but yesterday. You that cannot endure to be reproached, that [Page 39] cannot endure to hear others re­proached, that cannot bear the Re­proaches of Men, whenas it may be they reproach wrongfully; how will you bear (not the false, but) true Accusations of Conscience? Men may reproach falsly, but Conscience will reproach truly. Men may re­proach thee, and yet thine own Con­science may clear thee when they ac­cuse thee; but if Conscience re­proach thee, then who shall clear thee? Men may grow weary or ashamed of reproaching thee, but if Conscience reproach thee, will that grow weary or ashamed? No, ne­ver. If some men reproach us, others may clear us; but if Conscience re­proach us, who then can clear us? This should humble us, that we have given Conscience occasion to re­proach us. 2 Sam. 24. 1. If you have not taken this care to avoid the Re­proaches of Conscience, it will re­proach you as it did David, whose [Page 40] Heart smote him after he had num­bered the People: and David said unto the Lord, I have sinned greatly in that I have done; I beseech thee (O Lord) to take away the iniquity of thy servant, for I have done very foolishly. Davids Heart smote him, now his Conscience, now his Conscience, smites and cuts him to the very Heart. Though his Conscience were quiet a great while, Psal. 73. 21, 22. yet afterwards he thus complains; Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins: so foolish was I and ignorant; I was as a beast before thee. If you neglect Conscience when it points with the finger, and gives direction; assure your selves, Con­science will have a time to smite with the fift, and to give correction, and then there will be no enduring of it: as it was with David when his Heart smote him, Psal. 69. 7. If shame co­vered Davids Face when men re­proached him, Oh what shame will [Page 41] cover our Faces when Conscience shall reproach us! Reproach hath broken my heart, (saith he) and I am full of heaviness. I looked for some to take pity, but there was none, and for comforters, but I found none. Ver. 20. This will be your case and your com­plaint when Conscience shall re­proach you. Reproach hath broken my heart. They gave me Gall for meat, and Vinegar to drink; saith he, Ver. 21. Conscience will give Gall and Vinegar to us, unless some course be taken for the quieting of it; if you make it not your care so to live, that Conscience may not reproach you. To be able to say, For Gods sake I have born reproach, Psal. 69. 7. will be a comfort: but if for our Lusts sake we bear reproach, what a Torment will that be? When Conscience shall say, This is for the sake of that proud Lust, this is for the sake of that drun­ken Lust, that wanton Lust of thine; this is for that Passion of thine, that [Page 42] froward and fretful Spirit of thine: when Conscience shall say, This is for the sake of such a Lust which thou didst indulge, and kept as a sweet morsel under thy tongue, notwith­standing the persuasions of all Gods Ministers to the contrary; how wilt thou be able to bear it?

Vse 2. Of Exhortation. Take care that Conscience may not have occasion to reproach you while you live. The Reasons before mentio­ned may serve as Motives. The un­avoidableness and intolerableness of these reproaches of Conscience, these are Motives enough to engage us to take all care that Conscience may not reproach us. Let it be your care to have a Conscience void of offence, (Prov. 15. 15. 2 Cor. 1. 12.) and then Conscience instead of accusing will excuse, instead of condemning it will acquit you. If you hearken to the voice of Conscience informed and guided by the Word of God, it will [Page 43] be a continual feast unto you, Prov. 15. 15. and your daily rejoycing. This is our rejoycing, (saith the Apo­stle) the testimony of our Conscience that in simplicity and godly sincerity not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world. When a man hath Con­science on his side, this will be a Cor­dial in any condition whatsoever, in a Prison, a Cordial in a Dun­geon, a Cordial in a strange Coun­try, and a Cordial in the worst of sufferings that we [...] meet with. Keep Conscience void of offence, and so live that Conscience may not re­proach you, and all will be well. How may we so live, you will say, that Conscience may not reproach us while we live? or if we have so lived, that Conscience hath had cause to re­proach us, how may we get those re­proaches wiped off, and get Consci­ence quiet again? That I shall reserve for another opportunity.


JOB 27. 6.‘My Righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my Heart shall not re­proach me so long as I live.’

HAving already shewed you what Conscience is, and about what it is im­ployed, and how it is im­ployed, and given you several reasons why we should make it our great care so to live, that Conscience may not re­proach us while we live; and having made some Use of the Doctrine, I now come to resolve two questions or ca­ses.

1. The first is, how may we so live, walk and act, and carry our selves, that Conscience may have no cause to reproach us another day?

[Page 46] 2. If we have so lived, so walked, so acted, and so carryed our selves, that Conscience hath had just cause to re­proach us, and doth reproach us; what is to be done, that the reproach­es of Conscience may be wiped off, that Conscience may be quiet, and cease to accuse and condemn, cease to vex and torment? These are the two cases I am to answer.

Case 1. How may we so live, walk, act and carry our selves, that Conscience may have no cause to re­proach us? You see that Job did so live and carry himself, that though his friends did reproach him, his Con­science did not reproach him; though his friends did charge him, yet his Conscience did discharge him, though his friends did condemne him, yet his Conscience did acquit him. He did so live, that he was able to main­tain his Integrity and Uprightness; and doubtless it is not a thing impos­sible, but we do not set to it, we do [Page 47] not set about it in earnest. If we be Christians indeed, and not almost Christians, we might so live as Con­science might have no just cause to reproach us. O Sirs, Relations may reproach us, Wives may reproach Husbands, and Husbands reproach Wives, Children may reproach Pa­rents, and Servants reproach their Masters, and one Neighbour reproach another; but it is possible so to live, that Conscience all this while may be at peace, and not reproach us. Possi­bly you may be ready to think and say within your selves, Would we could tell how we might so live, pray let us have some directions how we may so live that Conscience may not reproach us. But before I give coun­sel should not I know of you whether you will follow it? And in case you will not follow it, why should I give it? Ask your selves there­fore, if the Minister shall give us no other counsel then what God [Page 48] himself giveth us, should not I follow it? Sirs, if I give you any other coun­sel then what God in his holy Word doth give you, I would intreat you not to follow it; nay, if you set it at naught I shall not be offended. Con­sider what Jethro said to Moses, Exod. 18. 23. If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so; so say I There­fore consider whether God say as I say, whether God command you so; if so, pray take heed how you do set at naught the Counsel of God. Now the first Direction which I shall give you is this.

Direction I.

Set God always before you. And this will be a means so to live, that Conscience may not reproach you. Assure your selves there is no time wherein Gods Back is turned, no time wherein Gods Eye is not upon you: if you can find a time when God is ab­sent, you may take your liberty and do what you list. You know of what [Page 49] force the Masters presence is among the Servants; of what force the Pa­rents presence is among the Children to restrain them; of what force the presence of a Minister, or a grave, se­rious, and holy Christian, is to re­strain People from what otherwise they would take liberty to do: Sure Gods Presence should be of greater force to restrain us, if we did but live in the Apprehension thereof. O if we could but set God always be­fore us, what manner of persons should we be in all holy Conv [...]r­sation, all holy cogitation, and in all holy communication too! Da­vid did set God always before him, and why should not we do so too? Psal. 16. 8. I have set the Lord always before me. O then it was, that Da­vid was a man after Gods own heart; then it was that David was such a Praying man, and such a Praising man, and such an Holy and Heaven­ly man, when he did set the Lord al­ways [Page 50] before him. You know how persons will carry themselves in the sight of Men, if they have any thing to do in the sight of others, how they will do it; O that we could do all we do as in the sight of God. This was the charge that was given to A­braham by God himself, Gen. 17. 1. Walk before me, and be thou perfect; that is, upright. There is no such way to be upright. as to live in the Apprehension of the Presence of God, and to have this always run in our thoughts, God heareth, God sees, and God knows. O that this were written upon your Desks and Shop Boards, God sees; O that this were written upon your Tables, God sees; Oh that this were written upon your Looking Glasses, God sees; O that this were written upon all your At­tire and Dresses, God sees; and O that this were written upon your Naked Breasts and Shoulders, God sees, and upon your Faces and Fore­heads [Page 51] too. I do assure you (Sirs) that God does see you; O that you would live in the continual Appre­hension of it. God sees thee, God knows what all your thoughts are, what all your designs are, what all your sayings and doings are. Be ever thinking, God knows, God hears, God sees. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths, Prov. 3. 6. This will make you careful to keep Gods Precepts, if in all your ways you look upon God as your Observer and Overseer. This was that which made David careful to observe Gods Precepts, Psal. 119. 168. I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies. O blessed David, how didst thou do this! He tells you in the next words, For all my ways are before thee. I could heartily wish [...]hat you would often and seriously read and consider these three or four scriptures; Job 34. 21, 22. For his [...] are upon the ways of man, and he [Page 52] sees all his goings. There is no dark­ness or shadow of death, where the Workers of iniquity may hide them­selves. There is no hiding from God, be sees all our goings; we cannot set one foot before another but God sees it. Alas, alas, if a man do but go out of doors God sees it, if he goes into the Field God sees it, if he goes to other Houses God sees it, if he goes to his own House God sees it too. Prov. 15. 3. The eyes of the Lord are in every place, be­holding the evil and the good. Prov. 5. 2. The ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all his goings. I desire you once a week to read over the former part of the 139 Psalm; if I should desire you to read it once a day, it would not be lost labour. You will see there is no going out of the sight and pre­sence of God. Verily (Sirs) to set God always before us, and to live in the Sight and Apprehension of the [Page 53] Presence of God, this would have such an influence upon our Thoughts, Words, and Works, that it would make them pleasing to God; and if so, Conscience would never reproach us for them; for Conscience will not reproach us for doing that which is pleasing to God. Thus much for the first Direction.

Direction II.

Set up Gods Will revealed in his Word as the Rule of all your Thoughts, Words and Actions; as the rule of all you do in your general calling, and of all you do in your particular calling; as a rule of all your natural, civil, and religious Actions; set up the Will of God revealed in his Word, as the rule of your all. Let it be the rule of your carriage towards God, of your carriage toward men, toward your selves, and toward others. This is Scripture direction, the Counsel which the Holy Ghost giveth; there­fore I beseech you seriously consider [Page 54] of it and follow it. Psal. 119. 6. The shall not I be ashamed, when I have re­spect unto all thy Commandements: and in the 9th. verse a Question is put Wherewithall shall a young man cleans his way? (the answer followeth) By taking heed thereto according to thy Word; doing all according to Rule What hath a Child a Copy for, but to write after it? and what hath the Mason a Line and a Plummet for, but to build by it? Let the Word of God be thy Lamp and thy Light. Psal. 119 105. Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, wild a light unto my Path. Order your steps according to the Word of God, as David prayed, Psal. 119. 133. and then you will not stumble, nor give Conscience any occasion of reproaching you: You are careful, when you walk in the Street, to keep out of the Chanal, to keep out of the way that may pollute and defile you; Oh Sirs, why do we not order our steps according to the Word of God▪ [Page 55] Why do we not keep the path? Why go we out of the path? Poor David did so sometimes; therefore the prays, Psal. 119. 176. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy Servant, for I do not forget thy Commandements. Would you not be willing, that Mercy and Peace might be upon you? Gal. 6. 16. As many as walk according to this rule peace be upon them and mercy, and up­on the Israel of God. Beware, my friends, of setting up false rules, to your selves, and I beseech you, let not these directions which I am giving you be out of mind when I am out of sight. I pray beware of setting up false rules; I shall name sour, which we are very prone to walk by.

1. Beware of setting up the pra­ctice of others whether great or good for your rule; the practices of good men are not always agreeable to the rule as they should be. Ministers and others may step aside, and too often do; therefore beware of setting up the [Page 56] practice of others, whether great or good, to be your rule, Remember you are to follow others as they follow Christ. You will say, this was the pra­ctice of such a Minister, this is the practice of such a Professor; but do they walk as Christ walked? If they follow Christ thou mayst follow them; but if they do not follow Christ, we must not follow them, be they who they will.

2. Beware of setting up the opini­ons of others, be they never so learn­ed, for your rule, though they be the greatest Doctors in the World, and called Rabbi never so much. Set not up the Opinion of any for your rule, any further then they have the Word of God for their Opinion. When God speaks we must consider who, but when Man speaks we must consider what; I say when God speaks we must not consider what but who, but when Man speaks we must not consider who but what. We know God cannot [Page 57] erre, but we know that Man may erre▪

3. Beware of setting up the Cu­stomes of the times and places you live in for your rule. Oh this is the Custome of the time, and this is the Custome of the place, and what shall I be like no body? Do not make this your rule. Tell me where in all the Bible doth God allow this for a rule, to walk according to the Custome of the times and places wherein we live?

4. Beware of setting up the Mul­titude for your example, follow not a multitude to do evil. Let not this fa­tisfie you, nor serve your turn, to say, Why, every one doth so; it is general and common, the Multitude doth it; what shall I be singular, like no body in the World? Assure your selves that a Multitude is not a Law and Rule for you to walk by. I appeal to you, Sirs, whether this be not good counsel, whether it would not be a great help to, and furtherance of, the [Page 58] peace and quiet of your Consciences, to set up the Will of God revealed in in his Word for the rule of your all.

Direction III.

Set up Gods Glory as the end of all. If you would not have Conscience to reproach you another day, set up Gods Glory as the end of all that you do. Often say to thine own soul, How doth this tend to the Glory of God? will God be Honoured by this? will God be Glorified by this? When you are upon any undertaking, or when you are about any natural, civil, or religious Action, think seriously with your selves, What do I aim at? what is my design in doing this or that? Is it the Glory of God? O Sirs, if it be the pleasing of your selves, Conscience will be displeased; if it be the pleasing of the flesh, Conscience will be dis­pleased to purpose; if it be the plea­sing of the World, the pleasing of one another, and not the pleasing of [Page 59] God, Conscience will be displeased another day: for Conscience is never pleased when the Glory of God is not designed. 1 Cor. 10. 31. that Scrip­ture should be considered by my self and you. Whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the Glory of God; do all that God may be ho­noured. Sirs, You are not your own, for you are bought with a price: glorifie God with your Bodies, and with your Spirits, which are Gods. I appeal unto your Consciences, whether this would not be the way to keep Conscience quiet, that it should have no cause to re­proach you, if you did but set up the Glory of God as the end of all. Cer­tainly all we do will be never the less profitable or pleasurable, contentful or satisfactory, to us, for making Gods Glory the end of all; but a thousand to one, it would make every thing by so much the more profitable, pleasu­rable and satisfactory to us, by how much more we make the Glory of [Page 60] God the end thereof. O Sirs, how sweetly will that meat go down that is eaten with an eye to the Glory of God? How comfortable will those dealings and trading in the World be, that are done with an eye to the Glory of God?

Direction IV.

If you would so live, that Conscience may have no occasion to reproach you, Set up an Inquisition Court in your own souls. You have heard talk of an Inquisition in Spain, and in other Popish Countries; Oh that you would set up an Inquisition Court in your own souls. We have Courts of Inquiry among us; Oh keep a weekly, nay a daily, Court of Inquiry in your own hearts. Commune with your own hearts every day, according to the Ex­ample of David, Psal. 4. 4. Examine your selves often, be not seldome in the work of self-examiniation. 2. Cor. 13. 5. Examine your selves, prove your own selves, whether you be in the Faith: [Page 61] know ye not that Christ is in you? Except ye be Reprobates or unapproved: whe­ther you be reprobate Silver, that is, not current. Examine your selves, prove your own selves. Ps. 119. 59. I thought on my ways (saith David) and turned my feet unto thy testimonies. Oh think on your ways, say often to thine own soul, What am I? what do I? how live I? whether go I? what will be my condition through all Eternity? Will such questions do you any harm? I appeal to your selves that are able to Judge. O that I could get you to reckon often with your selves, and to keep a Petty Sessions in your own souls, and sit as Judges in a Court of Inquiry upon all your thoughts, words and Actions, saying to them, Come hither my thoughts, come hi­ther my words, come hither my works, come let me examine you, come let me compare you with the rule; would not this prevent the ac­cusations of Conscience if you did [Page 62] but reckon with your selves once eve­ry day, if it were but one quarter of an hour in the day? See Jer. 8. 6.

Direction. V.

Set open your ears to the voice of Con­science, when it is enlightened and di­rected by the Word of God. When Conscience hath information from the Word of God, set open your ears to its voice, hearken to the voice of Con­science; as Abraham once by Gods command hearkened to the voice of Sarah, Gen. 21. 12. And God said un­to Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the Lad, and be­cause of the Bond-woman: In all Sarah hath said unto thee hearken unto her voice. Why so say I to you: in all that Conscience informed by the Word shall say unto you, hearken unto its voice. Be subject for Consci­ence sake, is the Command, Rom. 13. 5. This Subjection for Conscience sake to those that are in Authority God hath commanded; Conscience [Page 63] will clamour, upbraid, and reproach, if Gods Commands be not obeyed. Hearken to the voice of Conscience, hearken to the Directing voice, and the Reproving voice, of Conscience. Ps. 16. 7 My reins instruct me, &c. that is, my inmost thoughts and secret motions do instruct me. Hearken to its Directing voice when it saith, This is the way, walk in it, Isa. 30. 21. When thou hearest a voice behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk in it; hearken also to its Reproving voice, to its Correcting voice. Thus David expostulates, Psal. 4. 2. & 43. Why art thou cast down, O my Soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Trust still in God. Why art thou thus diffident? why art thou thus distrustful? Thus David re­proves himself, and chides himself. Psal. 77. 10. And I said, this is my in­firmity. But I will remember the years of the right hand of the most high. And I said, this is my infirmity, this is my [Page 64] frailty; I am to blame. Thus he checks himself, and hearkens to the voice of Conscience.

Direction VI.

Set your selves against all sin; both great and small. Fight against all sin, oppose all sin; allow not your selves in the practice of any known sin, nor in the omission of any known Duty. Paul was very careful here­in, Acts 8. 23. And Paul earnestly be­holding the Council said, Men and Brethren, I have lived in all good con­science before God unto this day. And how came he to live in all good Con­science? it was before God. If we could well remember the first Dire­ction, we should the better live in all good Conscience. And herein (saith the Apostle) do I exercise my self, to have always a Conscience void of of­fence toward God and toward Men, Acts 24. 16. Pray for us (saith the Apostle) for we trust we have a good Conscience, in all things willing to live [Page 65] honestly. Mark, in all things; so Psal. 119. 101. I have refrained my feet from every evil way, &c. Verse 128. I esteem all thy precepts concern­ing all things to be right, and I hate every false way. Pray observe here are three Universals: if you would not have Conscience reproach you, set your selves against all sin, against the Commission of all Sin, and against the Omission of all Duties both great and small. If you be not faithful in the least, you will not be trusted in the greatest. Luke 16. 12. Make Conscience of evil Thoughts, of idle and unsavoury Words and seeming Oaths; and according to the Rule abstain from all appearance of evil, from all semblance of evil, 1 Thes. 5. 22. Take heed of Deceit, and of every thing that hath the shew and semblance of evil. Take heed of Wanton Dresses; take heed of ensna­ring Attire: I am confident that ma­ny poor Creatures have been catch'd [Page 66] as it were in a Snare and Trap by the Habit and Dresses of the Professors o [...] our Age. Alas, what Inventions have we to draw Eyes, both behind and before, to this part of the Body, and to the other part of the Body? The Lord be merciful to us, is this the way to escape the Reproaches of Conscience? O Friends, take heed of Deceit in your dealings; take heed of Lying for advantage; take heed of the Husk and Kernel of the Grape; though we drink not the Wine, may we not eat the Grape? If not the Grape, may we not eat the Husk of the Grape? And if not the the Husk, yet may we not eat the Kernel of the Grape? No. Num. 6. 4. This is the Law of the Nazarite, All the days of his Separation he shall eat nothing that is made of the Vine Tree, from the Kernels even to the Husk. He must not drink Wine, that was the Law of the Nazarite▪ That he might not be ensnared no [...] [Page 67] under a temptation to drink Wine, he must not meddle with any thing coming of the Vine, not the very Husk or the Kernel, lest he be en­snared. Our first Mother Eve was drawn to Eating by Seeing: O take heed of Temptations and Snares, and be not a Snare or Temptation unto others; but make Conscience of all sin, whether great or small. Nay further, if there be any question or doubt about any thing, whether it be a sin or no, what shall we do then? Some say it is a sin, and some say it is not a sin; and possibly some good men may say it is not a sin, and some good men may say it is a sin; what shall we do in such a doubtful mat­ter? I shall quickly resolve you; Take the surest side. In such a case when the matter is doubtful, the su­rest way now is not to make or med­dle at all with it.

Was there not Meat enough for them to eat in the Primitive Times, [Page 68] besides that which did give offence? Some doubt whether it was lawful to eat of this or that meat; what need we eat of it? Paul saith in such a case▪ I will never eat flesh while the world standeth, rather than offend a weak brother. It is not lawful, saith one; I will do it for all that, saith another. They are not of Pauls Spirit. And as for Dresses and Habits, are there not enough besides those which are questionable, and which both Anci­ent and Modern Divines have all con­demned as sinful? Possibly some will assume a greater Liberty, and we are now generally grown to a greater Latitude; but tell me, Is there not enough of other sorts, but we must use such Habits and Dresses as are doubtful, questionable, and of­fensive? God help us to consider of it. In all matters doubtful and questionable, still take the surest side▪ If you do that which is questionable and doubtful, you may sin, and pos­sibly [Page 69] it may be found to be a sin at the Day of Judgment; and if so, what will you do then? It was the speech of Mr. Bolton concerning Long Hair; You say the wearing of Long Hair is not a sin, but what if it be found at the Day of Judgment to be a sin? You will then wish, O that I had left it off, or ne­ver used it. Men are not infallible, Ministers are not infallible, no not the best of them; you are not to ground on them as if they could not be mistaken; therefore in all doubt­ful cases chuse the surest side. There is Meat enough to eat besides that which is doubtful; and there is Ap­parel enough to wear besides that which is offensive and questionable. If you would so live that Conscience may have no cause to reproach you, my Counsel to you is, Take always in doubtful matters the surest side, which is not to meddle or make with it at all; for if you do it you may sin, and at Judgment it may be found [Page 70] to be sin. But if you do it not, you are safe and free.

Direction. VII.

Set up Christ as your patern. If you would have Conscience not to re­proach you another day, take Christ for your example. 1 Pet. 2. 21, 23. For even hereunto were ye called, because Christ also suffered for us leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps, &c. We should pace after him, we ought to walk as Christ walked. If you would have Conscience not to re­proach you, make Christ your patern; think, speak and do, as you are per­suaded Christ would, were he in your case, were he in your place on earth: speak, think and do, as you think he would; ask your selves, Would Christ neglect his Fathers business as I do? Would he mis-spend his time, and tritle it away, that went about continually doing good? Would Christ have served one Lust, and ano­ther Lust, as I do, and have made pro­vision [Page 71] for the flesh to fulfil the Lusts [...]hereof? Would he give himself to ri­ [...]ing and drunkenness, to chambering [...]nd wantonness as I do? As you would [...]ot have Conscience to reproach you, make Christ your Patern and Ex­ [...]mplar.

Direction VIII.

Sit under a Powerful Ministry. If [...]ou would prevent the reproaches of Conscience, love and like that Mini­ [...]er best that speaks to Conscience [...]ost; do not hate him that rebukes, [...]s they Amos 5. 10. but say as Da­ [...]id, (Psal. 141. 5.) Let the righteous nite me, it shall be a kindness; and [...]t him reprove me, it shall be an excel­ [...]nt oyl, that shall not break my head. Let him smite me, I will not be of­ [...]ended with him, I will not smite a­ [...]ain; when he fmites me, it shall be [...]s a precious Oyntment. The mean­ [...]ng is, Let him smite me with Re­ [...]roofs, let him reprove me, deal [...]ithfully and plainly with me. And [Page 72] (Sirs) I fear that my self and many of my Brethren in the Ministry may have much to answer for another day▪ for that we do not deal more faith­fully, more plainly and downrightly with Souls. Ministers are under a Temptation to please their Hearers, as well as others, and are loth to of­fend them; but God forbid that Christs Ministers should be Servants of Men, or Men-pleasers, or Women-pleasers. Let them look to it, that they please their Lord and Master Christ.

Direction IX.

Set upon nothing, on which you can­not, on which you dare not, pray for a blessing. Never undertake any thing, never be imployed about any thing, upon which thou dost not dare to pray for a blessing. 1 Tim. 4. 4, 5. Every thing is sanctified by the Word and Prayer. I must have a Word to be my Rule for it, and I must make a Prayer for a Blessing on it, else I can [Page 73] not except that it should be sanctified and blessed to me. Now (Sirs) how many things are there that we do, that we dare not pray to God for a Blessing on? It may be you spend two or three hours at the Looking Glass, can you pray for a Blessing up­on the time so spent? can you pray for a Blessing upon your dressing and attiring your selves, and habiting your selves in the way and manner that you do? can you pray, O Lord, let this way of habiting and dressing my self be for thy Glory, and for my Good, and for the example of others? Dare any of you go and make a prayer to God foe this? Adventure not upon any thing upon which you dare not pray for a Blessing.

Direction X.

If you would not have Conscience to reproach you, Set about all in the name and strength of Christ. For that is the rule which the Apostle giveth, Col. 3. 17. And whatsoever ye do i [...] [Page 74] word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Do all accord­ing to the will and the command of Christ, do all by the strength and help of Christ, and do all to the Glory of Christ.

1. Do all according to the will and command of Christ. In Mat. 18. 20. The name of Christ signifies his com­mand.

2. Do all by the strength and help of Christ. In this sense also is the name of Christ used, Luke 10. 17. and Psa. 44. 5. Luke. 17.

3. Do all to the Glory of Christ, which is sometimes to be understood by his name, as Psal. 31. 3. Oh that People would ask themselves, Is this according to the will and command of Christ that I am now a doing? can I expect the strength and help of Christ in that I am now a doing? is this for the Glory of Christ which I am now [...] doing? When thou art about [...] Duty, say to Christ, all our sufficien [...] ­ [...]cy [Page 75] is of thee, we have none of our own, 2 Cor. 3. 5. Joh. 15. 5. Say as Paul, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me, Phil. 4. 13. And thus I have given you ten Directions how you may so live that Conscience may not reproach you.

Case II.

I come now to speak a little to the second case. What if we have neg­lected these rules and directions which have been laid before us. If you have neglected to walk according to rule, and have given Conscience just cause to reproach you; and if Con­science does reproach you, and if you ask me, How may we get the re­proaches of Conscience wiped off, and get Conscience quiet again? I answer in two words, Repent and Be­lieve.

1. Repent of that before the Lord which Conscience reproacheth you for, mourn for it, be ashamed of it, judge and condemne your selves for [Page 76] what is past, resolve against it for the time to come; this is a good course▪ If we confess our sins, he is faith­ful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness, 1 Cor. 11. 31. For if we would judge our selves, we should not be judged; and if we acknowledg our transgressions, and accept of the punishment of our iniquity. Read Lev. 26. 40, 41, 42. There is not a better way to wipe off [...]he reproaches of Conscience, then by the tears of repentance. Follow the ex­ample of that Woman that came be­hind our Lord and Saviour, and washed his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the haires of her head. A service perhaps that you would be loath to put your hair to; but, Sirs, if you would have Conscience to be quiet, then seriously set upon the work of Repentance.

2. Believe. By Faith set Christs Blood on work, to wipe off the asper­sions and reproaches of Conscience, [Page 77] to purifie and pacifie Conscience, get Conscience sprinkled with the Blood of Christ, Heb. 9. 14. You read of one Mat. 15. 28. that set the Pity and Power of Christ on work to make her Daughter whole. Jesus answered and said unto her, O Woman, great is thy Faith! Be it to thee even as thou wilt. Christ seemed not to regard her a while, but she followed him, and set his Pity and Power on work. Faith will set the Blood of Christ on work, to wipe of the reproaches of Conscience. The Centurions Faith set Christ on work to heal his Servant, Lord (saith he) my Servant lyeth at home sick of the Palsie grievously tor­mented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The Centuri­on answered and said, Lord I am not worthy that thou shouldst come under my Roof, but speak the word onely, and my Servant shall be healed. And Je­sus said unto the Centurion, Go thy way, and as thou hast believed so be it done [Page 78] unto thee. And his Servant was heal­ed in the self same hour Mat. 8. 13.

The Lepers Faith did set Christ on work Mat. 8. 2, 3. And there came a Leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand and touched him, saying, I will, be thou clean: and immediately his Leprosie was cleansed. The Father of the Child that had a deaf and a dumb Spirit, his Faith set Christ on work, Mark 9. 23, 24, 25. Jesus saith unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straight way the Father of the Child cryed out with teares, Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief. The Faith of the Woman diseased with an Issue of Blood set Christ on work, Mat. 9. 21. For she said within her self, If I may but touch the Hem of his Garment I shall be whole. And it followes, the Woman was made whole from that hour. The Faith of the poor Leper set Christ or [Page 79] work, Luke 17. 19. And Jesus said unto him, Thy faith hath made thee whole.

And likewise the Womans Faith (Luke 7. 48.) set Christ on work for the pardon of her sins; he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven thee. And (ver. 50.) Christ tells her, Thy faith hath saved thee, go in peace.

And likewise the Faith of blind Bartimeus (Mar. 10. 51, 52.) sets Christs Power and Pity on work, and obtained Healing. And the Faith of the two blind men in Matth. 9. 27, 28, 29, 30. Christ touched their eyes and said, According to your faith, so be it unto you. And their Eyes were open­ed.

O if you could but (according to these Examples) set Faith on work for the healing of your Souls, Consci­ence would be quiet. Thus bespeak and expostulate with thine own Con­science, and say, It is true (Consci­ence) I have sinned, and deserved to [Page 80] be reproached and condemned, but I fly to the Bloud of Christ for clean­sing, and I apply that by Faith. Nay (saith Conscience) if thou fly to that City of Refuge, I can then no longer pursue after thee; thou art safe enough from me. If thou makest the Bloud of Christ thy Refuge, thou art then secured from all the Storms, and Terrors, and Reproaches of Consci­ence. If you would not have Consci­ence upbraid you, accuse and con­demn you, set about the work of Re­pentance and Faith, and then whatso­ever cause you have given Conscience to reproach you, it will reproach you no more, it will be quiet and at peace with you; always provided that you set about this work of Faith and Re­pentance seriously and in good ear­nest. Consider what hath been said, and the Lord give you understanding in all things.


Books printed for and are to be sold by John Hancock, at the Sign of the Three Bibles in Popes Head Alley in Cornhill.

TWelve Books lately published by Mr. Tho. Brooks, late Preacher of the Gospel at Margarets New Fish­street.

1. Precious Remedies against Satans Devices, or Salve for Believers and Vnbelievers Sores: being a Companion for those that are in Christ or out of Christ.

2. Heaven on Earth [...] a Serious Discourse touching a Well-grounded Assurance of Mans Everlasting Hap­piness.

3. The Vnsearchable Riches of Christ held forth in 22 Sermons.

4. Apples of Gold for Young Men and Women.

5. A String of Pearls, or the best [...]hings reserved till last.

6. The Mute Christian under the [Page] Smarting R [...] with Sovereign Anti­dotes against the most miserable Exi­gents.

7. An Ark for all Gods Noahs in a stormy day.

8. The Crown and Glory of Christi­anity, in 48 Sermons on Heb. 12. 14.

9. The Privy Key of Heaven, or a Discourse of Closet Prayer.

10. An Heavenly Cordial for such as have had or escaped the Plague.

11. A Cabinet of choice Jewels, or a Box of Precious Oyntment, containing special Ma [...] Rules, and Directions, in order to [...] [...] clearing up of a Mans Interest in Christ, and his Title to all the Glory of another World.

12. Londons Lamentations.

[...] The Godly Mans Ark, in several Sermons. To which is added M▪ Moors Evidences for Heaven. By Ed­mund Calamy, B. D. at Alderman­bury.

Christs Communion with his Church [Page] Militant: by Nich [...] [...]ckyer.

Sin the Plague of Plagues: by Ralph [...]enning.

A true Narrative of those two never be forgotten Deliverances, one from [...]he Spanish Invasion in 88, the other from the Hellish Powder Plot, Nov. 5. [...]605. by Mr. Sam. Clark.

The Accurate Accountant, or Lon­don Merchant: being Instructions for [...]ceping Merchants Accounts. By Tho. Brown, Accomptant.

Short Writing the most [...] Ex­act, Lineal, and speedy [...] that hath ever yet been obtained. By Theo­philus Metcalfe.

Also a Book called a Schoolmaster to it, explaining all the Rules thereof.

A Word of Advice to Saints, or a choice Drop of Honey from the Rock Christ

[...] Matthews Legacy to his Chil­ [...] [...] full of good counsel.

[...] [...]t Description of New York.


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